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Notes on "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"

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This article is from Alan W. Pollack's groundbreaking series "Notes on the Beatles". Links in the orginal article is written in this colour: index to the series, while links I have added appears as standard links. Go here for more information on my site about the song

Notes on "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"

KEY A Major


FORM Intro -> Verse -> Bridge ->
Verse -> Verse -> Bridge (w/complete ending)

General Points of Interest

Style and Form

"...Bathroom Window," despite its extremely long title, turns out to be quite shorter in duration than it seems when you listen to it. Check out the track length, only 1:57; and that includes those last four measures of the previous track with the falling scale in the bassline. I believe this musical illusion is created by the extent to which the two preceding fragmentary tracks provide a foil for this one's being relatively full grown in the form department.

This song also turns out to be pretty much the *only* song in the medley that comes close to approaching one of the traditional forms. And even so, it has the peculiar trait of putting a single verse up front, with two verses between the bridges. Darn clever, those Beatles, hmm?

The lyrics flip flop between the entertainingly clever and annoyingly inscrutable.

Melody and Harmony

The tune is bluesy in a "Get Back" sort of way, with a melodic emphasis on flat 3 and 7 that turns many of the chords into not necessarily quite functional dominant 7th chords. Yes, you can rationalize I7 as though it were V-of-IV, but IV7 allows no such explanation.

In spite of its using a surprisingly small total number of chords, the song manages to include an unusual modulation to the key of "flat III," thereby providing yet another place in the medley where A and C Major are used in direct opposition to each other.


The backing track is essentially identical to that of "Polythene Pam", no surprise since the two tracks were recorded in a single long take, though unlike "Polythene Pam",, this one has no sections that are completely instrumental. The acoustic guitar is heard much less prominently here than on "Polythene Pam",, but still maintains at least the status of what in cooking you'd call a secret ingredient.

Paul has the lead vocal double tracked throughout. The first and third verse have scat backing vocals sung in falsetto. The bridges have a backing vocal that tracks the lead in parallel 3rds.

Section-by-Section Walkthrough


The last four measures of the "Polythene Pam", outro, with the downward scale in the bassline, serve as the nominal intro to this song; at least that's how the tracks are indexed on the CD of the album.

The long awaited resolution of the E Major chord to A on the downbeat of the first verse here is one of the most vividly orgasmic moments in the entire Beatles songbook, at least this side of the bridge section of "Day Tripper" What really grabs me, beyond the big bang of actual arrival itself, is the sophisticated way in which the backing vocals and drum work in the 3rd and 4th measures of that verse create a cascading followup wave of euphoria.

Many years ago I once had the experience of accellerating out from the tollbooth onto the upward approach to the Bronx Whitestone bridge coincidentally just as my tape player reached this point of the album. In cinematic terms, it was "rush" for me equivalent to that moment in "The Graduate" where the hero pulls out at crusing speed onto the center span of the Okaland Bay (Golden Gate?) bridge just as S&G hit the first big chorus of "Mrs. Robinson":-)


The verse is 16 measures long with four equal phrases that make a poetic pattern of AAAB[I-IV / IV-I]:

        ------------------------------- 3X ------------------------------
        |A7  |-  |D7  |-  |
A:  I                               IV

        |D  |-  |A  |-  |
         IV                              I

In the first three lines the lyrics are scanned in a manner that avoids the downbeat of the phrase, and rather shifts the rhythmic emphasis to the third measure. The pattern is broken for the final phase where the effect of allowing the lyrics to coincide with the phrase downbeat for the first time combined with the slow, subtle harmonic syncopation created by the sustaining of the D Major chord over the phrase boundary makes the entire verse seem a bit lopsided in retrospect; compare this, for example, with "Drive My Car".

By the way, there is some standout lead guitar work found here filling out those lyrical gaps between the lines.


The lopsided effect is developed further in the bridge, which I believe should be parsed as if the final two measures of the verse (on the A Major chord) actually overlap as the start of this section:

        |A  |-  |d  |-  |
         I                               iv

                                        |D C |B A |
        |A  |-  |d  |-  |
         I                               iv
                                      C: ii

                                         1   2  3   4    1  2   3   4
                                        |C          B |-      A       |
        |G  |-  |C  |  |
(C:)     V                               I

                                         1   2   3   4
        |G  |-  |C      A |
         V                               I
                                      A: flat III    I

This leaves the bridge with an unusual 15 measure length, as though it were accidentally-on-purpose left one measure short of what "should have been" the more regular 16 measures.

The outbound modulation [ is effected by using the cliche of the minor iv chord in context of a Major key as a clear pivot. The return modulation [I-VI] is more abrupt both in terms of it having virtually no harmonic preparation and the placement of the return A Major chord on the final beat of the final measure of the section. In the first bridge, this makes the start of the next verse sound (again) lopsided. In the second bridge which ends the song, this change of chord on the final beat practically throws you out of your seat; "Oh yeah!"

We find two examples of a prominent downward scalewise bassline in this bridge. The one in the second phrase is completely straightforward. The one in the third phrase rhythmically plays out the change of notes in the bass using the 3+3+2 pattern we saw on this album in both "Here Comes The Sun," "Because," and "... Money."

Some Final Thoughts

Yet again we are dealing with an Abbey Road song for which there are Get Back era takes to be found out there; most notably, one from the first day of the Apple sessions on Anthology 3.

That particular outtake follows the more conventional formal recipe of placing a bridge after each of the three verses. Also, the harmony of the verse section uses the I -> vi -> IV cliche, an effect dropped in place of the starker I -> IV we have in the official version.

Two other points of interest:

- Paul talks aloud at the end of the performance, as he is often overheard doing in these sessions, about possible ideas for making the song more elaborate.

- In the bridge it sounds like he is personally already toying with the 3+3+2 bassline idea, but none of the others yet follow his lead. But that's okay for now, at least.


Alan (


"Yeah, down the ... er ..."  "Well, give a couple of
 minutes ..."                                                010200#188


Copyright (c) 2000 by Alan W. Pollack

All Rights Reserved

This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

These articles were originally posted in the News Group The content from this newsgroup is archived at, and Alan W. Pollacks "Notes On" series can be found at

. I used to link to the versions published in Soundscapes before I decided to include them on my own site.

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